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Scientists learn more about how inhibitory brain cells get excited
Date:1/30/2013

ize the activity of pyramidal cells, pyramid-shaped neurons that get both excitatory and inhibitory input then make the call on what action to take.

When scientists ablated the erbin gene in mice or kept erbin from interacting with TARP gamma-2, a protein that helps anchor the AMPA receptor on the cell surface, TARP gamma-2 couldn't do its job. The result was less receptors on the cell surface and mice that were hyperactive with impaired learning and memory.

Cell activity hinges on receptor activity and receptors must be anchored on the cell surface to work. Ensuring AMPA receptors are strategically placed is a lifelong task since the busy receptors wear out and each brain cell has tons of them, Mei said.

He and his colleagues reported in the journal, Neuron, in 2007, two genes neuregulin-1 and its receptor ErbB4 that help maintain a healthy balance of excitement and inhibition by releasing GABA at the sight of inhibitory synapses, the communication paths between neurons. Years before, they showed the genes were also at excitatory synapses, where they also could quash activation. Both genes are involved in human development and implicated in schizophrenia and cancer.


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@gru.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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